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What is a ‘life of luxury’ now?

https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20200928-what-is-a-life-of-luxury-now

bbc.com

What is a ‘life of luxury’ now?
From rarity, opulence and status to today’s more nuanced ‘luxury essentialism’, the story of all things ‘luxe’ has evolved over the centuries. Cath Pound explores how.

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Luxury as a concept

Luxury as a concept

Luxury, as a concept, seems inherently rooted in materialism. It involves the owning of beautiful, often superfluous things.

In a world where natural resources are declining, and over-consumption is harming our environment, it may be possible to move towards a more meaningful definition of luxury.

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The immaterial dimension of luxury

Today's luxury is about rediscovering an immaterial dimension - time, space, and experiences.

Time and travel, which seem very precious today, were pivotal in the evolution of luxury. Since Antiquity, contact with other nations fuelled a desire for rare and exotic items. When the West discovered Japanese ceramics for example, it realized that luxury and refinement could co-exist with simplicity and purity.

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The art of luxurious living in history

  • In 18th-Century France, a taste for luxurious objects blended with the idea of the art of living. The rise in the power of individualism and new forms of artistry made French elites enjoy the creation of pleasing living environments.
  • In the 19th Century, the demand for luxury goods expanded, as the middle class desired to provide itself with comforts. The industrial revolution allowed for the production of every item they could want. Travel became a major form of luxury.
  • In the 20th Century, luxury became more aspirational due to the expansion of advertising and popular media. By the 1980s, luxury became about purchasing expensive things with only a surface value to gain a competitive advantage in the world.
  • Today, paying attention to the environmental and ethical cost of such consumption, the luxury industry is focusing on personal experiences over personal luxury, and a move away from excess and towards luxury essentialism.

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A shift to luxury essentialism

There is a shift from ownership to only using things that have personal value. You will have nice, well-made objects around you to enhance the things which are important to you, such as a beautiful set of crockery for someone who loves cooking for friends.

In a decisive move away from disposable culture, the longevity of luxury items is becoming an important part of their appeal.

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Attachment To Objects: Mid Adolescence

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A slow change from home to office

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How changes in technology influenced the office

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